COLLEGE STATION — Texas Task Force 1’s urban search and rescue and water strike teams worked in conjunction on Monday to rescue nearly 100 victims of Hurricane Katrina, marking the first time the two teams had combined rescue efforts in New Orleans.
The 80-member urban search and rescue team and 41-member water strike team worked in the northwest section of downtown New Orleans. Task Force Leaders report that more and more people have heeded officials’ warnings and have left the flooded the city. The operations for both teams are beginning to wind down, and Task Force Leaders expect demobilization orders within the next few days.
Texas Task Force 1’s urban search and rescue team is one of nine national squads under FEMA that have been working in New Orleans. The water strike team is working in conjunction with local emergency response groups from Louisiana.
Task Force personnel report that the people of New Orleans continue to be extremely appreciative of their efforts. No injuries have been sustained by Texas Task Force 1 members during rescue operations despite challenging conditions.
Texas Task Force 1 has combined with other response agencies to rescue more than 13,000 people from Katrina’s floodwaters since landfall last Monday. Texas Task Force 1 has a total of 129 members working in response to Katrina, with the additional personnel serving in various capacities with FEMA, the Department of Homeland Security and the Texas State Operations Center.
The Texas Engineering Extension Service (TEEX), a member of The Texas A&M System, serves as the sponsoring agency for Texas Task Force 1.